Does the NFL need to change the overtime rules?

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nfl

There were a couple of proposals but the final one that will be voted on this week at the owner’s meeting in Orlando is as follows:

If the team that wins the coin toss goes down the field and scores a touchdown, the game is over. However, if that team is stopped and kicks a field goal, they would have to kick off and give the other team a chance to either score a touchdown or kick a field goal. A 3-3 tie in overtime would begin a true sudden death scenario.

The biggest argument is that both teams should get a shot at the ball. There have been more wins recently by the team getting the ball on the flip. From 75-93 the team that got the ball first won 46.8 of the time. However, from 94-09 the team that got the ball won 60% of overtime games. Worse, the percentage of games ended by a field goal jumped from 18% in 75-93 to 26% in the 94-09 period.

Another argument against the change says that there should not be 2 sets of rules one for the regular season and one for the playoffs. But we have 2 sets of rules now. In the regular season after 15 minutes of scoreless overtime, the game is over and ends in a tie. In the playoffs, they play until one team scores no matter how long that takes.

Does the overtime system need to be changed?

Probably not. The system has been in place for years. The only objection to the rules comes from coaches and players of teams that are the loser of a coin flip and are not able to prevent a FG from their opponents.

Would this change improve the system?

Probably not. The college system is clearly not the answer. The injury rate for NFL players would skyrocket having to play 2 to 3 sets of downs from the 25. The new rule will extend overtime games to some degree but does allow both offenses to get on the field if the flip winner is only able to kick a FG. To those teams that cry over the current rule I have 2 suggestions. First, get better on kickoff coverage so that the team winning the flip starts from inside their 25 yard line. Second, play better D so that the opponent is forced to punt and give you the ball. If you do both of those things, the overtime rule works fine for everyone.

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That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

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Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He is a regular contributor on Cleveland Sports Radio http://www.sportstalkcleveland.com/ Monday afternoons at 1 Eastern. He has also published several novels on

and edits .

Big name cuts in the NFL have little to do with the salary cap.

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Fryingpan Sports

Big name cuts in the NFL have little to do with the salary cap.

By Bill Smith

Marvin Harrison (WR) cut. 12 million

Derrick Brooks (LB) cut. 3.75 million

Ike Hilliard (WR) cut. 2.07 million

Warrick Dunn (RB) cut. 3 million

Joey Galloway (WR) cut. 3.5 million

Cato June (LB) cut. 3.7 million

Donnie Edwards (LB) cut. 4.8 million

Damon Huard (QB) cut. 2.6 million

Laveranues Coles (WR) cut. 6 million.

And that is not all. There will be more. What do all of these players have in common beside a large cap number in 08? They are all older. The NFL Players Association has been talking about the uncapped 2010 helping the middle and higher paid players but that is not going to happen.

What will happen is that teams will be cutting as many expensive players as possible before the lockout in 2010 happens but it is not due to the salary cap. The cap was expected to be around 120.5 million in 09 when it was first calculated in June of 08. Then the estimate grew to 123 million and last week went to 127 million. That is really a lot of money to spread between 53 players (2.32 mil each). That may not seem like a lot (except to those of us that work for a living) but about 10 to 12 players on each team work for the minimum which runs between 235K and 500K each depending on the number of years of service.

To me the cuts of costly players is one more indication that the league is going to play hard ball with the NFLPA. The owners are acting like they will not give an inch to the players. The primary candidates to replace Gene Upshaw, the deceased Executive Director, have been campaigning based on how tough they will be in fighting for guaranteed contracts, better health care, and a larger slice of the pie for the players.

Under NFL rules, all teams had to be under the projected cap for 2009 by midnight this morning which is the beginning of the free agent period. We will know which teams will tend to stand strong against the NFLPA by not signing expensive free agents and which will spend money over the next few years. Watch the length of the contracts.

If the new deals are long term, the team that offers it may be intending to vote to not lockout the players. Teams that do not sign players is hunkering down to survive regardless whether or not the league plays in 09. Either way, the next few weeks will be interesting.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NFL,FOOTBALL,NFLPA,CUTS,FREE AGENT,SALARY CAP,CONTRACT,UPSHAW
  • Author:
  • Published: Feb 25th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Some results from the Combine can be deceiving.

Some results from the Combine can be deceiving.

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Fryingpan Sports

Some results from the Combine can be deceiving.

By Bill Smith

Weight lifting numbers

One of the most entertaining aspects of the Combine is the coverage of the weight lifting. All players lift 225 for as many reps as they can. You would think that you want to draft the strongest (most reps at 225) O line or D line and linebackers. Not so much.

The arm length of the player is inversely related to the number of reps. Those with shorter arms tend to complete more reps than those with long to very long arms. But history tells us that short armed O and D linemen fail at alarming rate.

My Advice: If your O or D lineman gets past 25, that is good enough if he has long enough arms.

The 40 yard dash.

One factor that I did not discuss yesterday about the 40 is the “straight line” guy. Some guys have really good straight line speed but can not change direction without losing speed. Football is not played in straight lines.

My Advice: If a player has really bad shuttle and 3 cone (which is really 5 cone) tests, then buyer beware. Track guys often fall into this category.

Passing tree drill

What is good for the receiver is not good for the passer. Many of the passes thrown by the quarterbacks participating in the passing tree drill were off target. That is a big problem. While a receiver benefits from a chance to show he can adjust to a poorly thrown ball, there were far too many balls hitting the ground.

My Advice: Give the receiver credit but beware of the passer. If you can’t hit a spot without a pass rush and with no defender covering the receiver, good luck in the regular season.

Contact pad” drills

In recent years the Combine has added what is called a “contact” pad drill where one player holds a blocking pad and the player being evaluated moves at the snap of a ball on a stick and blows the defender back. Don’t put ANY value on this drill except where the lineman hits the bag. The lower the better.

My Advice: Fast man—low man wins. If the lineman stands up and then hits the defender, he will never work out as an O lineman. He is a waist bender not a knee bender. Those that stand up before blocking will get knocked down very quickly.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NFL Draft, Combine, 40 yard dash
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  • Published: Feb 20th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for at the Combine—Defense

What to look for at the Combine—Defense

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Fryingpan Sports

What to look for at the Combine—Defense

By Bill Smith

The NFL Combine is now covered by the NFL network more than ever before. Some of the most important parts of the combine are not televised. The combine was originally a league wide group physical examination to save money. It has developed into what you see today.

The NFL scout is almost as interested in eliminating players from his “want” board as in ranking the prospects. In interviews, written tests, and physicals a team may see something about a guy they don’t like and drop him from further consideration.

There are certain things that NFL scouts look for at the combine. Today we will look at the major items on defense. Yesterday, we looked at the offense.

D Line

Prior to the workouts, check out the arm length of the D line and the O line for that matter as well. Short arms are a major problem for the O and D line. An O lineman can grab you but if your arms are too short, you can’t push the opponent away. There have been a large number of high DL picks that have failed in the NFL because their arms were not long enough to keep the blocker off of them.

Check out the weight of the D line. A 4-3 DE has to be at least 265. A 3-4 DE has to be at least 285. Lighter DEs better be candidates for outside linebacker (OB) in a 3-4 or they will fall way down in the draft. There are some exceptions. A pass rush specialist like Elvis Dumervil who came into the league at around 245 fell to the late 4th round in 2006 strictly because of his size. He had outstanding production at Louisville. He became an all around DE and a pro bowler and has worked his way to 260 pounds since he was drafted. The irony is that if the Broncos convert to 3-4, he will have to become an OB.

In general scouts get a much better look at the critical skills of the D Line at the Senior Bowl 1:1 drills. There they work against O lineman in contract drills. However, a couple of drills do show the pass rush ability of the players.

The corner drill is critical for pass rushers. The player runs back and forth at the direction of the coach then drops the shoulder and goes around the end to the tackle bag. This shows the change of direction, quickness of feet and the knee bending ability of the D lineman to drop the shoulder to get around the edge. Just like the O line, the scouts are looking for a natural knee bender not a waist bender.

Check out the mirror/slide drill for both O and D lineman. It shows the footwork of the linemen and their ability to get around the corner of the O line. The drill is as I described yesterday and is the only man on man drill of the combine.

The last drill that is critical to the D line is the parallel pad drill. The player must step over and around pads laid on the field while looking for direction changes from the coach. This tests his balance, knee bending, leg lift and foot quickness.

Linebackers and College DE that will move to Outside Linebacker

Many college DE players are too light to play DE in a 4-3 and in a 3-4 must convert to OLB. In addition to the D line drills, these players have to show the ability to drop in pass coverage and show ball skills. In the back peddle drill the player drops while changing direction at the signal of the coach, then finds the ball in the air and goes after it.

These players must also show hip fluidity along with ball skills that are not important to D linemen.

The parallel pad drill is also key for linebackers.

Defensive backs

DBs must show speed, jumping ability (both long and vertical), and hip fluidity in drills. However, the NFL is also looking for ball skills as much as all the other traits combined. The back peddle drill is the most critical for DB players. Because the best corners are seldom thrown at by college opponents, this is the one position most affected by combine results.

Last year, Dominick Rogers-Cromartie made two moves that helped him in the draft. He added the “Cromartie” to his last name because of the success of his relation all pro CB Antonio Cromartie of the Chargers. Second, he had an outstanding combine. The combination of the two took him from a 3rd round prospect to a 1st round pick and eventually to the Super Bowl with the Cardinals.

As far as speed goes, no player will be more affected by his official 40 yard dash time this year than Ohio State DB Malcolm Jenkins. He must run a 4.45 40 yard dash or less to be considered a shutdown corner. That will guarantee a top 20 first round pick.

A slow speed will put him at safety in the minds of the scouts. The earliest a safety would normally be drafted would be in the middle of the 2nd round. A safety in the 2nd round would get about a third of the contract of a top 10-12 pick. There is very little chance that he will run at the combine. He will most likely do what other top players do and wait to run at the OSU pro day.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NFL DRAFT, FOOTBALL, COLLEGE FOOTBALL, Ohio state, Broncos, NFL Combine, Chargers
  • Author:
  • Published: Feb 20th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on What to look for at the Combine—Offense

What to look for at the Combine—Offense

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Fryingpan Sports

What to look for at the Combine—Offense

By Bill Smith

The NFL Combine is now covered by the NFL network more than ever before. There are certain things that NFL scouts look for at the combine. Today we will look at the major items on offense. Tomorrow, we will look at the defense.

Quarterback

Unfortunately most top QB prospects don’t throw at the combine. They wait for pro days at their schools. That is a mistake. Joe Flacco from Delaware really helped himself at the 08 combine. He went from a high 3rd round choice to the top half of the first round to Baltimore to a rookie of the year candidate.

3-5-7 step drop passing drill Too many of the QB prospects come from the spread offense. They worked in college from the shotgun and didn’t have to worry about footwork.

Check out how quickly the QB sets up after the drop and finds his target.

Second, watch the quickness of the release. As the QB takes the last step of the drop the ball should be coming out of his hand.

Check out the arm strength and accuracy. The key test is the 15 yard out to the opposite sideline. If he can complete that throw with a rope pass, he has an NFL arm.

Last, check out the touch on the ball. Can he loft the ball to a back on a circle route out of the backfield.

Running backs

The key to the backs is the ability to change direction without losing speed.

Watch the backs in the 5 cone drill. Great speed doesn’t help if the back can’t change direction quickly.

Watch for ball skills specifically the ability to catch the ball with the hands away from the body.

Watch for the ability to run crisp routes. Does he make sharp cuts or round them off?

Receivers (WR&TE)

The ball skills and route running are the critical tests of the receivers. These players must be able to catch the ball away from their bodies and adjust to passes in the air. Another critical test of their route running ability is the fluidity of the hips. The 5 cone drill shows their ability to change direction at full speed. The catching ability is best shown running a test called the gantlet where passes are thrown at the receiver from both sides. This shows his ability to quickly change from one side to the other and find the ball.

Watch for the ability to run crisp routes with this group as well. Does he make sharp cuts or round them off? Rounded off routes are easily covered. In the NFL a back can’t get open unless he runs crisp routes.

Speed is probably more important to WR than any other O position. However, the ability to catch is more important that speed or jumping ability. When I coached, I didn’t care how fast a receiver was if he couldn’t catch. Getting out and open doesn’t help the O if the guy can’t catch the pass.

Offensive line

The best test of the O line happens in the practices for the Senior Bowl in the 1:1 O & D drills. Since there are no pads on for the combine, the closest that the O line comes to a test is the shadow drill. In that drill, a player tries to run around the O lineman within a 1.5 yard wide space. This drill shows the footwork of the O line. They shuffle back and forth within the space available to prevent the attacker from getting beyond them to the bag that represents the QB.

Enjoy the combine coverage but remember, the best way to evaluate players is the game tapes. The combine used properly is only a tool to rank players that may grade out approximately equally on the field. Also check out my recent posting at NFLDRAFTDOG.COM titled BEWARE OF THE COMBINE WARRIOR.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

My email is [email protected]

Technorati Tags: NFL Draft, football, NFL Combine, Offense, Defense, NFL Network
  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 31st, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The NFL and NFLPA must keep negotiations out of the press.

The NFL and NFLPA must keep negotiations out of the press.

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The NFL and NFLPA must keep negotiations out of the press.

t

Roger Goodell

By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: NFL, NFLPA, labor agreement, strike, negotiations, press, owners

The NFLPA issued a statement that it has built a 118 million dollar strike fund.

On Jan. 29th at the NFLPA annual press conference, it released to the media a report that NFL teams were making an average of 24.7 million a year and owners had no reason to opt out of the current agreement.

Then NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell went before the media at the Super Bowl and said the following:

“That report is not accurate. We are very clear. We understand our numbers. The ownership spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating the Collective Bargaining Agreement. I think they came to the conclusion that it was better to terminate that agreement and go into a negotiation where we could work to try to come up with something that would work for all clubs and our players rather than continue on with that system.”

I have no idea if that report commissioned by the players association is accurate or not. I do know one thing. IT DOESN’T MATTER! The fact is that the owners took advantage of a clause in the agreement that they wanted out. Who did what to whom doesn’t matter at all. The old deal is dead and buried. Forget it and move on.

What does matter is that even before the players vote to select the person that will lead their negotiating team, the public cat fight has started. The union and the league know better than that. The next deal between the two is far too important to far too many fans to let the sides begin a public spitting contest that can only end up reducing the chances of a reasonable agreement and increasing the odds of a strike.

My suggestion to both sides is shut the devil up, sit down as soon as possible and work out a deal. The current estimate for the 2010 season is that total revenues will be around 8 billion dollars. There has to be a way to cut up that big a pie so that everyone can afford groceries. Cut the preseason to 2 games and add 2 to the regular season. Season ticket holders are sick to death of paying full price to watch guys play that will be bagging groceries at the end of training camp. Put in a rookie salary cap and allocate more to the veterans. Find a way to give retired players the health care that they have earned. To steal a line from Nike—Just do it.

The fans deserve better from the league commissioner. They deserve better from the owners and the players association. SHUT UP AND FIND A FORMULA THAT WORKS FOR BOTH. Don’t allow an uncapped season that will screw up the balance of power for years. Don’t allow guaranteed contracts that will further degrade the performance of the players. Other than that, we don’t care. We want our football and have paid dearly for that privilege.

The powers that be screwed up the economy and have destroyed our 401Ks. Mine is now a 195K. Don’t screw up NFL football as well.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

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